Miners extend olive branch to farmers

MARY Basin miners and farmers need to become better neighbours, according to mining lobby group the Queensland Resources Council.

The council has called for a complete redesign of new policies to protect “strategic cropping land” from mining.

The policies will initially be particularly focused on the Darling Downs, where agriculture and mining seem to be locked in mortal combat but the government says the rules may well also apply to the Mary Basin.

During an address to a Toowoomba symposium, organised by the Australian Institute of Science and Technology, Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche conceded the need for both sides to work towards a better future.

Mr Roche called for the government to reconsider its protection policies for land deemed to be strategic for cropping, saying non-agricultural activities could often co-exist with farming and had done in the past.

Strategic cropping land should be recognition of unique characteristics of productivity, which mean the use of that land is more closely scrutinised.

“Strategic cropping land should not be perverted to impose a moratorium on any other activity forever. Queensland has 150 years of history that says co-existence is possible.

“Much of Queensland's prosperity has been built on the back of our two major export industries – agriculture and mining.”

He said there was “more work to be done” for miners and farmers to become better neighbours and science would play an increasingly important role in productive co-existence.

“Some progress has been made in building better co-operation but there is still a long row to hoe.”

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